Discover the fascinating tale of Rome's Jewish community on our virtual tour of the atmospheric Jewish Ghetto
duration 1.5 hours
Join our native Roman expert guide Caterina to discover the fascinating story of Rome’s Jewish community on our virtual tour of the city’s atmospheric Jewish Ghetto. The story of Judaism in Rome stretches all the way back to the days of the Roman Empire - a story of persecution but also triumph over adversity. We’ll be taking a virtual stroll along the lively main street Via Portico d’Ottavia, lined with characteristic Kosher shops, bakeries and restaurants, as we learn the dark tale of the Community's segregation in the 16th century. Along the way we’ll visit picturesque Piazza Mattei with its famous turtle fountain, the imposing Portico d’Ottavia with the remains of the city’s medieval fish market, and even the grand ruins of an ancient Roman theatre – the spectacular Teatro Marcello. Both for its atmospheric beauty and frequently tragic history, the Jewish Ghetto is one of Rome’s most enduringly fascinating areas - get a virtual taster with our immersive live webinar!
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Hi I'm Caterina. I am a licensed guide of the city of Rome, and have been working with Through Eternity Tours since 2010. I was born and raised in Rome, where I've lived most of my life. I received a degree in Art History from Rome Tre University, where I specialised in Renaissance and Baroque art. I speak English, German and Italian fluently.
What Exactly is a Through Eternity Virtual Tour?
The world of travel might be on hold right now, but just because we're all staying at home to help the world overcome a common enemy doesn't mean we have to put our wanderlust on the back burner. Frustrated with not being able to get our travel fix, we decided to transform our award-winning tours into immersive virtual experiences, meaning you can still explore Italy’s spectacular archaeological sites and jaw-dropping museums from the comfort of your own home.
* Please note that the booking times are in US Eastern Standard Time and Rome, Italy CET is 6 hours ahead *
Fun and informative, our virtual tours take the form of online real-time presentations led by our expert guides. Combining videos, high-definition photos and more, our guides will be sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with you on these interactive walkthroughs of Italy’s most fascinating sites. The live format of our virtual tours means you’ll be able to ask your guide anything you wish, just like on a normal tour. We really believe it's the next best thing to being here!
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Did you know that Rome’s Jewish community has been a part of the city since at least as far back as the 2nd century BC? On our virtual tour with Caterina you’ll learn all about the community’s fascinating history in the city since ancient times, including the role of Jewish slaves in the construction of the Colosseum and their elevation to the status of Roman citizens in 212 AD: in late antiquity the city boasted as many as 12 separate synagogues catering to a congregation estimated to be as large as 40,000 people. On our virtual tour we’ll learn all about how Roman Judausm is unique in the world, an ancient branch of the religion known as Italkim.
On our virtual tour of the Roman Ghetto we’ll be tracing the dark tale of increasing persecution directed towards Rome’s Jews as the Middle Ages wore on, culminating in their forced segregation in the newly established Ghetto in the 16th century. Learn all about the desperate and cramped conditions of the Ghetto over the next 3 centuries, and the ultimate opening of the Ghetto’s walls in the middle of the nineteenth century.
These days the once miserable Ghetto is one of Rome’s most vibrant quarters, a rich and cosmopolitan patchwork where kosher bakeries, delis and restaurants line the picturesque streets. The serene streets that you see today (thankfully) don’t give much of a sense of the deprivation and chaotic overcrowding that once reigned over the quarter, but it remains the authentic centre of Jewish life in the city.
On our virtual Jewish Ghetto tour we’ll be getting to grips with the massive Synagogue, the true heart of the Jewish quarter and symbol of the community’s reintegration into the city after 300 long years of segregation. Built after the demolition of the Ghetto to designs by Vincenzo Costa and Osvaldo Armann between 1901 and 1904, the Synagogue’s unusual square aluminium dome (the only one in the city) makes it immediately recognisable set against the round domes of the innumerable churches dotting the Roman skyline. Inside, an eclectic mix of Eastern Assyrian and Greek elements make it a riot of colourful decorative detail.
Located right on the historical boundary of the Roman ghetto, the wonderful ancient Roman Teatro Marcello has been mistaken for the Colosseum by more than a few first-time visitors to the Eternal City. But the Teatro Marcello was a less bloody venue than the nearby Flavian Amphitheatre: commissioned by Julius Caesar and completed by Augustus in 13 B.C., the theatre could house up to 20,000 spectators and was the largest in ancient Rome, hosting plays and poetry performances. In the Renaissance the upper floors were converted to luxurious apartments for the Savelli clan by the renowned architect Baldassare Peruzzi.
A spectacular colonnaded walkway whose massive marble columns once framed massive ancient temples dedicated to Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina, the Porticus Octaviae was decorated with some of the finest artworks of antiquity according to Pliny the Elder. In the medieval period the ruins were transformed into the city’s fish market, and a church was built right into the ancient columns themselves
The Jewish Ghetto is home to what might be Rome’s most charming square. Beautiful Piazza Mattei is home to the stunning Fontana delle Tartarughe (Turtle Fountain) designed by Giacomo della Porta and executed by Taddei Landini in the late 16th century. A century later, Baroque master Gianlorenzo Bernini added the cute little turtles climbing into the basin. On our virtual Roman Ghetto tour, you’ll learn all about the legendary tale of how the fountain was constructed in a single night by a gambling-addict aristocrat in order to impress his betrothed
4.9 (16 reviews)
I traveled to an area of Rome I had not visited and it was a grand experience. Thank Caterina and Through Eternity Tours!
Very informative. Really liked Caterina as a guide - pleasant, good vocabulary and great materials! looking forward to our next tour.